A NEW species of electric eel capable of delivering an electric shock three times that of a domestic wall socket has been found in the Amazon. The eight feet long Electrophorus voltai is the world's most powerful electric eel and is capable of generating 860 volts - enough to stun an adult human.
The creatures use electricity to stun their prey and have been known to leap out of the water but deaths of humans are extremely rare. The team that made the discovery also found another species of electric eel, which increases the number of recognised species of eel from one to three. It has been named Electrophorus varii and the two new species were able to be separated because of the enormous voltage of Electrophorus voltai.
The scientists also learned more about electric eels’ behaviour. They had previously been thought of as solitary creatures that prey on their own under cover of darkness. But the team spotted eels working together to coordinate attacks in behaviour that resembles pack animals such as lions - but armed with the ability to zap their prey.
The research was carried out by team from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation, made up of scientists from the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic Society. “These fish grow to be seven to eight feet long. They’re really conspicuous,” said David de Santana, the lead author of a study published yesterday in the journal Nature Communications. “If you can discover a new 8ft-long fish after 250 years of exploration, can you imagine ...
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